Monday, 1 February 2010

Abortion + My Book

My novel, 'BABIES', deals with some difficult themes. One of them is abortion. It was the hardest part of the book to write. (In fact, there's more to that story and what happened to me when I wrote one specific chapter. I'll save that for down the road)
On January 28, 2010, Ruth Proskauer Smith died in Manhatten at the age of 102. Smith co-founded the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, which later became the National Abortion Rights Action League and is today known as NARAL Pro-Choice America. Smith was born into a life of privilege and politics; her father Joseph Meyer Proskauer was a New York State Supreme Court Judge and a close associate of Governor Al Smith. Her mother, Alice Naumburg Proskauer, was an activist in the right-to-die movement who founded the Euthanasia Society of America, a cause that Smith would later take on herself. After graduating from Radcliffe, marrying, and getting divorced, Smith became involved in the reproductive rights movement as a fieldworker for Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts in the 1940s. She later became the executive secretary of that organization, and helped lead the fight to legalize contraceptives in Massachusetts, a state dominated by the interests of the Catholic Church. After losing that battle, Smith met Margaret Sanger ***, who introduced her to the radical concept of abortion rights as a vital part of reproductive health. Returning to her home state of New York in 1953, she directed family planning services at Mount Sinai Hospital, an experience that opened her eyes to the direct impact class had on abortion access. In 1969, Smith co-founded NARAL. Four year later, the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the United States, in no small part thanks to the dedication of groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood. Smith remained active in NARAL's New York chapter, and continued to advocate for the "right-to-die," contributing greatly to pro-euthanasia campaigns in the 1990s. Even as a centenarian, Smith worked, teaching other senior citizens about the Supreme Court as part of the City University of New York's Quest program (a job that was described quite charmingly in a New York Times profile in 2008).
***Sanger was an avid defender of free speech who was arrested at least eight times for expressing her views in a time when speaking publicly in favor of birth control was illegal.

PLEASE take a few moments to honor Ruth by watching this video. She has an urgent message for women everywhere. LPXO


Marta (Montenegro) Martin said...

How sad that you seek to "honor" someone who has cost millions of innocent children their lives. Would that I live someday to see the horrible practice of abortion repealed.


As a Mother of 4 children and a Grandmother of 3 beautiful girls, I still believe in freedom of speech and a woman's right to choose. Both need to exist without interference. Thank you for your opinion. I do hear you. LP

The Polished Pebble said...

I continue to support the reproductive rights of all women and find great sadness in our inability of late, to fully express that notion. Women have taken the right to chose for granted and it will be a very sad day when we see the clock turn back to the 50's, with doctors working in back rooms and women seeking help from inexperienced strangers.

I am a mother and an advocate for children and I support the right to choose as well.


Kitty said...

Ruth rocks. My grandfather was an obstetrician until the mid-seventies, and often spoke of the evils of back-alley abortions. He spent a lot of time saving women's lives after they had been mutilated. Illegal abortion is medieval.

pavlova said...

Thank you for honoring a woman who made a difference in women's lives.
I too am a mother and an advocate for children's rights. However, that being said, ALL WOMEN SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE!! It would be such a travesty to move backwards and undo all the strides that women made in the 20th century.

Breezy said...

Thank you for sharing the video. A woman's right to choose is just that "a right".. and needs to be protected.

I glad I stopped by.

Just Beachy said...

Very important woman , so important to keep our rights , I was just talking to my girls and explaining how things haven't always been equal for women , women had to fight for our rights .
Very important message

lifeinredshoes said...

You know where I stand on this! I may be a card carrying Mormon, but do not take away my freedom to choose!

Laura in Paris said...

A debate boyond blog exchanges, I believe, but important.
You have been courageous to speak about this topic in your blog.
Not an issue in Europe anymore (and less abortions than when it was illegal), except when a teenager is raped, finds she's pregnat, and she cannot abort in her country (Ireland a couple of years ago. How traumatic for this poor child. I prefer legal abortion, yes.

Manhattan said...

I really can't understand how we can be on the verge of overpopulation, yet people can be so anti-abortion. I guess they just want us to keep having babies until the whole world is starving.